Wilkinson: Bogie has the pace to compete
CA1 Sport team boss Martin Wilkinson believes that David Bogie has the pace to compete at the front of the British Rally Championship this year because the Scot is the last BRC champion in a four-wheel-drive car.
Bogie came out on top after a difficult season in 2011 where he beat Jonny Greer, Marty Mccormack and the title favourite for 2016, Elfyn Evans.
Wilkinson said: “Bogie saw off a lot of strong competitors that year including Elfyn Evans. Anybody who could do that even at that time, is pretty fierce. I know Elfyn has a vast amount of experience since then but I definitely believe that David has the pace to challenge for the title.”
Bogie tasked Wilkinson with sourcing the Skoda Fabia for this year, despite the machine being rare in the UK.
“I was asked by David to secure him a drive in a Skoda and that’s what I did. If he hadn’t have wanted the Skoda it could have been a very different story.
“If that had been the case, then we probably wouldn’t be running David. It was through my contacts that I was able to get a Skoda.”
Ilast saw David Stokes on a wet and windy Epynt last July. He opened the window of his truck and offered a suitably rude greeting, which included berating me for missing the previous round of the BHRC while on holiday.
Later that day, I was at Bamford’s for the penultimate stage of the rally and David’s familiar Escort Mk1 cruised into view at a much reduced pace. Broken gearbox and limping to service, I thought. However, the truth was that David was physically spent and did not have the strength to tackle the final stage. It was the first time I fully realised how poorly he was, for David was not a quitter.
I go a long way back with rallying’s fastest baker. In the early 1970s when I was a lad growing up around motorsport in Gloucestershire, he was the local hero taking on, and beating, the best in national rallying.
But it was not until 30 years later that I really got to know David during more than a dozen years of the British Historic Rally Championship. I watched him on more than 100 rallies and probably saw ‘AFW 66K’ on 300 stages from Wales to the Isle of Man, Belgium, Kielder and Ulster. Stood stage-side in Flanders with the camera one year, I got the finger and a big grin as he oversteered out of a square left.
His death last week after a battle with cancer closed a rallying story that covered more than 40 years and leaves a very big hole in the historic rallying fraternity. No one has been a stronger advocate for this branch of the sport than David and no one has yet come close to matching the four BHRC titles he earned in the second chapter of his rallying career.
He was one of those larger than life characters with a sharp wit and some deadly one-liners. But he was also a fierce competitor and, into his pensionable years, could still put it across most of his younger rivals. He’d help anyone who needed it, but if he could get a competitive advantage over his rivals, he would. He had a strong opinion on most things and his skills as a wind-up merchant were legendary.
When the split in historic rallying came in 2013 we were on opposite sides of the great divide. But I’m pleased to report that things moved on and I was soon once more seeking him out in service areas for a typically pithy quote, often unprintable.
I spoke to David just before Christmas and he was still eager to share the historic rallying gossip, even though his health was failing. He promised to call in the New Year so that we could do a story confirming his retirement from the sport. Sadly, his condition quickly deteriorated and time overtook us.
Rest in peace David.